When his boat got into an accident and capsized, Joseph Blankson didn’t think twice about jumping in the water to help rescue those who had fallen overboard in Lagos, Nigeria.
Blankson, who had always been a strong swimmer, managed to singlehandedly pull 13 people out of the river. While the father of two tried to save the 14th person, his body gave out from exhaustion and he tragically lost his life.
A spokesman for the Rivers State police, Nnamdi Omoni confirmed to CNN that the accident was caused when the passenger boat, carrying 24 people, crashed into an object. Blackson became the only casualty.
While he worked tirelessly to save the lion’s share of passengers, others stepped in to help rescue the remaining 10 people. His wife, Mercy, said her husband’s actions were in line with his character.
“He was a loving and caring man, a very good father to our kids. He put people first, before himself. He was selfless,” she told CNN.
Mercy went on to explain that Blankson had boarded the boat with two of his sisters, who were among the survivors of the accident.
“I was at home waiting for him to come back from work because he works on Saturdays. From work, he went to the village, and when I called him at 2 pm, his phone was switched off.”
Hon Oyinemi Nicholas Endeley Posted This
WITH TEARS IN MY HEART, BUT WITH JOY IN MY MIND I PRESENT TO NIGERIANS A HERO EVEN GOD WILL STAND UP TO WELCOME IN HEAVEN.
-Blackson You took the fall, he died while saving them. He saved 13 persons
— Chidi Nkwocha (@profchydon) August 6, 2018
A week after the 36-year old’s death, their children are still grappling to understand why their dad has not come home.
“Normally when he [Blankson] travels we do video calls. This past Saturday, a week after he left, my son was really down. He felt everything emotionally. And my daughter has been crying because she knows something is wrong.”
The grieving widow is currently unemployed and now left to raise their four-year-old son and seven-month-old daughter alone. Nigerians have taken to social media to praise Blankson as a real-life superhero and to ensure his widow and children receive the support they desperately need.